The Rebirth Is Here: New Jersey Gambling Industry Sees 21 Percent Growth

[toc]At this time last year, Atlantic City casinos were reeling.

The Trump Taj Mahal had just shut its doors after a months-long labor stoppage. Cantankerous casino mogul Glenn Straub was firing salvos of disapproval toward the city and state’s handling of the Revel and, in general, it seemed like AC would take years to pull out of its slump.

Over the course of the past year, though, the city has rebounded. And according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), casinos’ operating profit from July to September increased 20.7 percent over the same quarter in 2016.

The state’s seven casinos combined for a gross operating revenue of more than $252 million. “Gross operating revenue” refers to the money casinos bring in before various taxes, fees, and other payments are taken out.

According to the DGE, gross operating revenue is “a widely-accepted measure of profitability in the Atlantic City gaming industry.”

Casino-by-casino review of NJ gross operating revenue

The revenue numbers from the DGE’s report included the overall revenue from all casinos as well as a property-by-property listing. The New Jersey casinos basically fell into three groups: those with significant gains, moderate gains, and losses.

Tropicana posted the biggest gains, reaching nearly 70 percent growth. The Trop’s Q3 gross revenue was $46.2 million, nearly $20 million more than Q3 2016.

Golden Nugget AC had the second-biggest gains over 2016 with 15.4 percent growth. Caesars (10.9 percent) and Bally’s (10.7 percent) were the remaining two casinos with more than a 10 percent increase.

Harrah’s (0.9 percent) and Resorts Casino (0.3%) posted minimal gains. Borgata was the only casino to show losses, but those losses were minimal — 0.4 percent.

[show-table name=cta-golden-nugget]

Year-to-date also positive for New Jersey gambling operators

The DGE’s report also included year-to-date gross operating profit as compared to 2016. Once again, Atlantic City fared well, posting a 19.8 percent gain over the previous year.

While Borgata may have experience a slight downturn in Q3, the casino’s YTD is 12.2 percent higher than it was over the same time period in 2016. Q3 growth leader Tropicana also led the way on the YTD numbers, notching 81.8 percent growth.

The only casino who suffered YTD losses was Harrah’s, whose revenue dropped from $94.6 million to $87.4 million.

Numbers reflect excitement over AC rebirth

This year has been a good one for Atlantic City. After what was a dismal two years beginning with the casino contraction of 2014 and, arguably, ending with the state takeover of Atlantic City’s finances, the mood changed pretty quickly in 2017.

Gov. Chris Christie’s Trenton team was able to steady AC’s finances by reaching a settlement with Borgata over tax payments. Hard Rock International strengthened the momentum with their purchase of the Taj Mahal (which it plans to reopen next summer). And in the past few months, MGM revealed plans to begin development on a hush-hush project in AC.

Image credit: Vlad G /

About the Author

J.R. Duren

A three-time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest, J.R. Duren works as a freelance writer with a focus on the NJ online gambling and online casino industry. He writes for a number of publications, including Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, and the Villages Daily Sun.